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Fast Facts: Perio Edition – Implant Maintenance

Fast Facts: Perio Edition Episode 77
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Welcome back everyone! You are listening to another episode of Fast Facts- Perio Edition brought to you by A Tale of Two Hygienists in partnership with DentistRX. And now, please welcome your host, Katrina Sanders.
[Katrina Sanders, RDH]
Hello, and welcome to Fast Facts: Perio Edition. This week we are continuing the implant conversation and this time we’re going to get down and dirty, pun intended, in looking at how to keep dental implants clean. Now, I’ll be the first to say dental hygiene school, although terrific and certainly prepared us well for our national boards and our clinical boards certainly did not cover a lot of how to maintain and sustain dental implants.
If you’re like me, you were taught in dental hygiene school to use a plastic scaler around dental implants in the event that there was debris. And more particularly, if you were like me in hygiene school, you were taught to not touch a dental implant unless your doctor gives you permission to or if it looks like there’s a problem. We now know that dental implants, just like natural teeth, certainly can fail. And in fact, if we are not maintaining the periodontium around a dental implant the likeliness that this implant could fail and fail very quickly due to progressive disease is very high. And so now more than ever, we’re beginning to take a closer look at what research is telling us specifically about dental implants, the disease around dental implants and our responsibility as clinicians to assess, diagnose, plan, be able to effectively implement and then subsequently evaluate peri-implant disease.
So this week we’re going to look at implant maintenance. And most specifically, I’ll be bringing up two major resources that help us to understand what our responsibility is in implant maintenance. The first piece of research indicates that nonmetal scalers and rubber cups are not effective for implant debridement. Which again may be a departure for many of us who were taught in hygiene school to use a nonmetal scaler and to introduce a rubber cup around a dental implant.
In addition, we also have another piece of research that reminds us that nonmetal tip ultrasonic scalers are deemed suitable for implant maintenance as they remove debris without significant risk of surface damage. So when we take a look at implant maintenance, it should be notated that we have an incredible group of various types of manufacturers that generate different types of ultrasonic scalers whether those are piezon or magnetostrictive with optimal coating around the tip itself to ensure patient comfort, to ensure gentle tip motion, to ensure that we are appropriately dividing the dental implant, and of course, to ensure that we are not leaving behind damage to the oxide layer or the titanium metal.
In addition, however, we are also looking at other opportunities to maintain dental implants. These could be things like the use of metal scalers, particularly titanium based scalers. And we’re looking at other options, things like utilizing a titanium coated brush around the threads of an implant. The use of supra and subgingival air polishers that have been deemed safe for around dental implants and even chemical debridement or host modulation therapy utilizing antibacterial coatings around dental implants. In some cases utilizing chlorhexidine varnish and in some cases integrating the use of chemical medicaments such as an oxygenating rinse to ensure that we are effectively debriding around a dental implant.
As clinicians, now more than ever, we understand that we hold a vital role in the preventive maintenance around ensuring that we are reducing the potential for dental implant disease down the road.
Please feel free to reach out to me, Katrina Sanders, if you have any other questions regarding peri-implant maintenance.
This has been another episode of Fast Facts – Perio Edition with Katrina Sanders, RDH. Please feel free to reach me on Instagram @thedentalwinegenist or on my website Cheers.
[Andrew Johnston, RDH]
Thank you for listening to another episode of Fast Facts – Perio Edition, brought to you in part by DentistRX makers of the InteliSonic line of power brushes. Find out more by visiting their website at We’ll see you next week for another Fast Fact!

Resource: ​​
Renvert, Stefan, G. Rutger Persson, Flavia Q. Pirih, and Paulo M. Camargo. “Peri‐implant health, peri‐implant mucositis, and peri‐implantitis: Case definitions and diagnostic considerations.” Journal of clinical periodontology 45 (2018): S278-S285.

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